by Lilan Mustelier

For those of us, which have chosen to stay in the public eye, whether on TV or in print, find ourselves in a strange space at the moment. It appears under current circumstances we are put in a situation in which we seem to be a life line for the very people we try to inform to the best of our ability. The same holds true for me.

If I thought I got many phone calls prior to the tragedy which befell our country, I was wrong. 9.11 saw an increase in cries for help and explanations, how to deal with fear and what do I think, being a Psychic. People that would not consider asking me questions called hoping for a climbs of the future in some capacity. I refer them to the predictions for that year, which are on the website free for download. Our current circumstances are not in the future, they affect us NOW.

Allow me to share some thoughts, memories and some of the things which I have related to many of you over the past two weeks. I am not even sure if all of what I say holds true at this time, it did in the time period in which I experienced it.

I actually lived in Louisiana for a short time period. I was often considered a Creole and had access to different cultures and people. This was not unusual since I have always had a fascination with people from around the world, the cultures, believe systems, rituals and the thought we could all coexist on this planet in my lifetime. Louisiana itself was like entering a different country within the country. I found out that some of the old French laws were still in tact, maybe not always enforceable, nevertheless, they remained on the books and in people's reality. To present a newborn with a mother of pearl handle pistol and put the gift into the cradle was an honor and represented the right to protect and defend yourself, your family and your property. To stand up for and help your neighbor was an unwritten law. Wild cats we referred to as Panthers were not only an occasional visitor at the front door, they kept snakes of all descriptions in check.

Woman would spend hours to shop at Piggly Wiggly and just to treat themselves stop at Woolworth to carefully select a new ribbon for their hair to show off on Sunday when in Church. The men talk about fishing and their coon dogs, it was not unusual for someone jokingly to mention that is was OK to take their woman. Taking their Black and Tan Squirrel dog is another matter and not that easy to reckon with. We curse the old blue laws that prevented us from buying liquor on Sunday and the domino games came to an early halt around midnight because it was time to get ready for work in some of the Pulp Mills and the other industries that were popular in the area.

Beliefs ranged from all-day revivals to some of the ancient religions of the West Indies and Africa. People were as versatile and colorful as the dresses the woman wore, it was a joy to go to town and exchange chit chat with the friends. A big pot of food was always on the stove, instead of a "how are you" it was "are you hungry?"

Life was hard, outright brutal at times and yet, something special and it made one wonder why it should ever be any different. Year after year the same people sit on the front porch, the same dog by their feet and occasionally one could forget how ugly the world really was, till the next time the subject came up, that is. Work and play were divided by a fine line just as love and hate did. It was the way it was, considering what happened in the rest of the world life was good and one hardy considered the possibility of it ever being any different. I do not know about the City Folk, it would be reasonable to assume that many had came from the country site at different times in their life's and at least had memories of the teaching of their parents.

When the earth shook in February 2001 I found myself in a situation I had not anticipated. It all happened within 45 seconds. I was alive and grateful to the Creator. Adrenaline sustained me for the better part of 3 days, I was neither hungry, tired, wet from the constant downpours and I was unable to tell if I was hurting anywhere. Disbelieve set in on the 4th day when I realized that instead of a survivor of a major earthquake, 6.8 I had went from making news on the front local page of the newspaper to a regular homeless person which was denied to keep the clothes hanger that came with a dress that was donated by the Red Cross, further more, I was unable to get a plastic garbage bag because I did not have 60 cent to pay the price the man at the laundry charged for said garbage bag.

It is virtually impossible for anyone to understand how one does and should feel after a disaster, whether man made or an "act of God." All the finger pointing and or/survivors guilt does not change the fact that it is the survivor who needs to be allowed to handle life and circumstance as he/she best sees fit. Advise in reference to "you ought to" become irritating after a very short time. No one can judge or assume the role of knowing what one needs to do by using their own perception, culture or status in life as a guideline. Problems and challenges arise which unaffected people cannot comprehend. Feeling helpless and not in charge of ones own life regardless how meager it might appear to the next person is in some cases almost unbearable. By attempting to make decisions for our fellow man we ourselves become in fact Victims of disillusion because we are unable to understand.

As a survivor of a natural disaster I saw the best and the worst in people, sometimes in the same breath. My lesson learned will last a lifetime. I was able to use it as a learning tool and honor all people, good, bad and indifferent. In turn I am now able to honor the survivors of the Golf Coast by letting them know there is a flicker at the end of the tunnel. Only when we look at things in retrospect are we perhaps able to see the big picture. It might take years. Forced change is traumatic and will linger for a long time. Soon another disaster will follow and our attention will be occupied by something else, it`s human nature. I also know that some of us will stand by our sisters and brothers in their time of turmoil, long after it has all been said and done. I salute you for you courage, compassion and hidden human qualities that lay dormid until now.

After 9.11 a friend of mine, a nun, pointed out to me that the people from the Twin Towers were now our angels, holding hands around the globe in order to protect us. Oddly enough after our earthquake we discovered that certain buissnesses were located in stratigic locations, it appeared they had held up the town of Olympia, just by being there. Could it be that somehow the people of the Golf Coast serve as our mirror? Could it be that the spirit of those who lost their lives represent a Phoenix and serve as pillars to enable us to rise again? Could it be that the Evacuees hold energy in every state of the Union in order to stabilize and strengthen us as a nation just by being there? Could it be that a simpler way of looking at human potential is in order and it really is high time we reflect in the mirror and decide if we truly are who we say and do we really truly like ourselves and what we have become.........